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Dominica sweeps Caribbean Star Awards

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Dominica operations for Caribbean Star Airlines did its part to help make Star “the world’s best airline,” as Dominica received every award available for outstanding operations and service, capped when the station was declared the winner of the “2004 Best Station Award.”

Perhaps it should come as no surprise. Since inauguration of service in October 2000, Dominica has efficiently handled close to 100,000 passengers at Melville Hall Airport, a facility that was not constructed with such numbers in mind.{{more}}

Attendees at the award ceremony included Dominica’s Minister of Tourism Charles Savarin; Yolanda Suarez, former acting chief executive officer of Caribbean Star and president of Caribbean Sun Airlines; and Director of Government, Civic, Travel and Tourism Affairs for both Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun Edward Gilkes.

In making the award, Suarez said, “The Dominica station of Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun Airlines has excelled through a commitment to exceptional customer service, efficiency, accuracy, communication, cleanliness and helpfulness from check-in to boarding to take-off and arrival – and, most importantly, to working together as a team to make it all happen.”

But the “Best Station Award” was not the only accolade that made the Dominica station proud at this gala. During Caribbean Star’s Crystal Star Awards, the Whitchurch Travel Agency (a sister company of Ground Handlers Ltd., operations contractor for Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun at the airport) walked away with the coveted “Travel Agency of the Year” award, and Whitchurch employee Junior St. John was adjudged “Agent of the Year.”

Gerry Aird, managing director of H.H.V. Whitchurch & Company Ltd., parent company of Ground Handlers Ltd., complimented the bold vision shown by Stanford Financial Group of companies Chairman and CEO R. Allen Stanford when he launched Caribbean Star Airlines with the commitment to “increase the movement of people and cargo among the islands, be it for business or pleasure.”

Aird offered the opinion that the difference between Caribbean Star and regional competitors is that Caribbean Star always has its sights set further afield and is always ready to try something new.

The 25-year veteran of the aviation industry said he was convinced Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun were airlines that were serious about what they did – moving people reliably and safely from one point to another.

Air travel in Dominica appears to have an unlimited ceiling. Plans to widen and lengthen the runway at Melville Hall Airport and to install navigational lights to accommodate night landings are scheduled for completion in 2006.

New plans target ground access, as well. Designs now on the drawing board will strengthen and widen the road from Melville Hall to Roseau, improving bridges and drainage, and adding aesthetic lay-bys at which travelers can stop and enjoy the scenery, a complement to Dominica’s eco-tourism campaign.

Better access and improved airport facilities are likely to bring more people to visit Dominica. But raising the bar is all in a day’s work for the people at the “Best Station in the Caribbean.”

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